Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

Looking back at my "Most Anticipated of 2017" list, out of 10 movies only 1 landed on my "top ten" of the year list (Okja), 4 I found heartily enjoyable (Coco, Logan, A Cure for WellnessBaby Driver), 2 I found mildly underwhelming (Guardians Vol. 2Alien: Covenant), 2 I outright didn't like despite critical praise (Blade Runner 2049, The Last Jedi), and 1 got bumped to 2018 (Annihilation).  

Basically, most of the big movies set in space ended up disappointing me. So, being burnt out on Treks and Wars, this upcoming year I'm mostly hyped for smaller, dramatic movies. The following are the top ten movies I'm most looking forward to watching in 2018!

10. Stan and Ollie
Director: Jon S. Baird (Filth, Cass)
Cast: John C. Riley, Steve Coogan, Danny Huston, Shirley Henderson

Laurel and Hardy is one of the most iconic comic duos of all time, but unlike Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, there has yet to be a biopic made of their life. Stan and Ollie stars John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy (looking great in prosthetic makeup), and Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel. I seriously could not imagine more spot-on casting for the legendary comedians. The film will follow the duo in their later days, during a British variety hall tour in the 1950s as the crowds are starting to dwindle. With a screenplay by Jeff Pope, who wrote one of my favorite movies of 2013, Philomena, I can only hope this is as good a comedian biopic as Man on the Moon.

Release Date: TBA

Friday, December 29, 2017

Top Ten Movies of 2017!

HERE IT IS! The bane of every movie blogger: constructing a Top Ten of the Year list. This year I found that many of my favorites gravitated towards the criminally under-seen, so hopefully this post will get the word out on some great movies! Like I say most years, this is a personal top ten list, so I'm really not trying to please everyone or appear "cool" with these picks. I just tried to choose movies that had a big effect on me. Enjoy!

10. Detroit
Dir. Kathryn Bigelow

The tenth spot on any Top Ten list is always the hardest, because in effect you're bumping off a handful of other fantastic films. So to break the tie, I went with the movie that I thought most about after I left the theater. Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit shook me up - it details the night of July 23rd, 1967, when rioting took over the city and the Michigan State Police conducted a brutal raid and interrogation at the Algiers Motel.

The performances across the board are incredible; Algee Smith nails it as a young Motown artist whose life changes forever that night, Will Poulter is terrifying as a racist cop, and John Boyega is great as an African-American police officer torn between his identity as a black man and a "blue" man. Unflinchingly documentarian in style, disturbing, and all too reflective of the time we live in, Detroit is a fantastic film that shouldn't be overlooked!

Available to rent on Amazon and iTunes

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Talkies: 2017 Best and Worst Superlatives!

2017... not exactly one of our brightest years. Mass shooting records were broken, North Korea dropped some scary bombs, and many of our favorite entertainment personalities turned out to be disgusting sex fiends! But just because we might be on the brink of a nuclear holocaust doesn't mean there's nothing to celebrate - hence my 2017 movie superlatives! To honor some of the best (and worst) aspects in this year of film, I've compiled this list of 12 categories. Enjoy my 6th annual "Talkies" Awards!

BEST ACTOR - Robert Pattinson, Good Time

Not in a million years did I think Robert Pattinson would deliver my top performance of the year, but 2017 was full of surprises. In Good Time, the Twilight heartthrob is practically unrecognizable as Connie Nikas, a small-time crook, part-time scumbag who is the primary caregiver for his mentally handicapped brother, Nick. Although he loves him, Connie can't help but involve Nick in his crimes, leading to some intense consequences for both of them.

Essentially playing a modernized version of George from Of Mice and Men, Pattinson's character is a hot mess of contradictory impulses. He's both sympathetic and a scoundrel, street-smart yet ignorant, pathetic and brave, likable and deplorable. Yet all of his decisions, however misguided, are always made out of love for his brother. It's truly a complex role. I don't know where this Pattinson has been hiding all this time, but I welcome more of him.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

All the Money in the World, Downsizing, I Tonya, Call Me By Your Name Reviews

All the Money in the World
Dir. Ridley Scott
Watch Trailer

The sexual misconduct allegations against Kevin Spacey should have ruined All the Money in the World. Playing the third lead in the film, the cold-hearted billionaire J. Paul Getty, Spacey had his career killed a mere two months before its release. In a shocking turn of events, however, director Ridley Scott quickly recasted the character with Christopher Plummer, scrambling to re-shoot and re-edit the film up until mere weeks before landing in theaters. While it would at first appear that Spacey's downfall could have resulted in disaster for this movie, it actually ended up being the best thing as Christopher Plummer's performance is one of the most interesting aspects of the film!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Disaster Artist, Three Billboards, Darkest Hour Reviews

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Dir. Rian Johnson
Watch Trailer

I'm scared to write this review. Irrationally scared. Star Wars has become more than a series of fun sci-fi movies, it has become a cult. What started as, let's face it, a kids movie, has been adopted by grown men and women into some kind of sacred religion, and anyone with opinions against it are blasphemers. Online comment threads are battle zones. The mouth-frothing began when Star Wars announced its "comeback" a few years ago, taking the reins away from its original creator, George Lucas, and continuing the story that left off in 1983. That return, The Force Awakens, was met with such blind praise and adoration that as someone with mixed-to-low opinions on it I now live in an underground doomsday bunker just to avoid the fanboy fury. Now, The Last Jedi, the official sequel, is getting even higher praise from critics while I'm looking left and right, wondering if there's something not wrong with me.

Monday, December 25, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Movies #12: Rare Exports (2010)

Happy Holidays everyone! To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, I've decided to complete a daily review series of 12 Christmas movies leading up to the big 12/25. To qualify, the movies have to be tied to Christmas in some way and also something I've never seen before. I'll be going in chronological order. So, without further ado, if you got chestnuts, roast 'em - and enjoy my 12 Days of Christmas Movies!

Rare Exports
Dir. Jalmari Helander

Though there have been a great many movies with unique depictions of Santa Claus over the years, I think Rare Exports takes the cake for having the weirdest. Starting out almost like John Carpenter's horror classic The Thing, we find that the real Santa has been encased in the icy mountains of Finland for decades and a rich, eccentric billionaire has hired a construction unit to uncover Santa's tomb. Meanwhile, a clever young boy, Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his down-on-his-luck dad (Jorma Tommila) live in the mountains, hunting deer for the season to make ends meet. But when they find that the deer have been slaughtered by an unknown force, and a mysterious, bearded man shows up, soon it's not just the deer that are in danger...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Movies #11: A Christmas Tale (2008)

Happy Holidays everyone! To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, I've decided to complete a daily review series of 12 Christmas movies leading up to the big 12/25. To qualify, the movies have to be tied to Christmas in some way and also something I've never seen before. I'll be going in chronological order. So, without further ado, if you got chestnuts, roast 'em - and enjoy my 12 Days of Christmas Movies!

A Christmas Tale
Dir. Arnaud Desplechin

The Christmas season brings families together - even if you can't stand each other. Or, in the case of A Christmas Tale, even if you previously had a restraining order placed against them! This French family "dramedy" unsentimentally explores how the holidays can bring out both the best in people and also their deep-rooted jealousies and bitterness. It's a complex, naturalistic portrait of a household told with a degree of "New Wave" style. Although the story meanders a bit, wandering in and out of the lives of these brothers, sisters, parents, and cousins, the characters are fun to watch and make A Christmas Tale a bittersweet, schizophrenic tapestry of warm and cold feelings.

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